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Texas Supreme Court Accepts Lower Court LGBTQ+ Benefits Decision

The Texas Supreme Court has decided not to review a lower court’s decision that prohibits denying married same-sex couples city employment benefits that heterosexual couples receive.

The case was initiated before the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision and tried to stop cities such as Houston from being required to recognize same-sex marriages issued in other states. This would mean that the spouses and children of gay city employees could be denied benefits that heterosexual employees spouses and children are entitled to.

The lower court decided that since Obergefell v. Hodges allows same sex couples to marry, it also extends to same-sex couples receiving the same marriage benefits that heterosexual couples receive. Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine issued a dissenting opinion in which he claims that the court should have heard the case and that this is an issue that should be left to voters. He argues that this is a separate issue from the right to marry and views the decision as an overreach by the courts.

In his dissent, Devine says that “Texas, as it allocates benefits to employees’ spouses, may recognize the differences between same- and opposite-sex spouses. To withhold this decision from the people is to undermine precedent, democracy, and the limited role of courts in our nation.”

None of the state’s other eight justices signed on to Devine’s dissent.

Even though same-sex marriage has been legalized nationwide, it still faces a great deal of opposition. The Houston family law attorneys of Holmes, Diggs & Sadler have worked with LGBTQ+ marriage equality issues for years and will continue to explore the impact of legal same-sex marriage.

If you are facing marriage discrimination due to your sexual orientation, we may be able to help. Call our knowledgeable and experienced family law attorneys today at (713) 802-1777.


Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Settle Divorce

On August 16, celebrity couple Amber Heard and Johnny Depp confirmed that they have settled their divorce.

They got married in a luxurious island ceremony in February 2015. On May 25 of the next year, Amber Heard filed for the divorce from Johnny Depp, three days after Johnny’s mother passed away. On May 27, Amber filed a domestic violence restraining order from Depp after releasing photos of her bruised face. On same day, Vanessa Paradis, Depp’s ex-partner of over a decade, wrote “In all the years I have known Johnny, he has never been physically abusive with me and this looks nothing like the man I lived with for 14 wonderful years.”

Despite the roller coaster ride of events, the couple finally settled their divorce privately. On August  18, the actress revealed that the $7 million divorce settlement would be distributed to her chosen charities with a focus on groups helping to stop violence against women.

At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, we know how difficult going through a divorce can become. That is why our Houston divorce lawyers want to help you through every step of the process. Contact us at (713) 802-1777 to learn more about your legal options.


Domestic violence awareness raised in memory of murdered woman

Family and friends of 23-year-old mother La Keisha Lewis, a domestic violence victim, showed up at Harvest Time Church in North Houston following her death.  Darrell Mitchell, Keisha’s ex-boyfriend is in jail following the shooting and killing Keisha, mother of his three children as well as stabbing Keisha’s current boyfriend, Johnel Francis, to death.

“Nobody should have to walk on Earth, to be murdered. To take away a loved one…Nobody deserved to die like this” says Sandra Turner, La Keisha’s cousin.

“She was beautiful, fun and… it’s sad,” said friend Kennedy Stanley. Those that gathered wore purple to honor Keisha’s life and to raise awareness about domestic violence.

“If you are in an abusive situation, please don’t wait another minute. No one has the right to rule over you, to put their hands on you. That’s not love, that’s control and obsession,” said another family member.

At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our attorneys are committed to regaining a sense of safety and well-being in domestic violence victims. Our thoughts go out to the victim and all victims of domestic abuse.


Give Early Thanks on National Adoption Day

“National Adoption Day,” a celebration created by a series of national partners, takes place the Saturday before Thanksgiving to raise awareness for the hundreds of thousands children waiting in foster care, and to encourage adults to take action and adopt. President Obama took it a step further last year when he dedicated the entire month of November to families with adopted children. November 19th, 2016 will be celebrating the sixteenth year of National Adoption Day, where many activities occur nationwide to honor the adoption process.

According to The Dallas Morning News, last year more than 60 children were adopted during a nationwide adoption day event. On this day, activities begin with a Presentational Proclamation, with a main focus being on the children who are currently in need of homes in the foster care system. Then various activities are celebrated in different areas, and the festivities continue to be effective in finding homes for children in need. In Houston, Harris County puts on an adoption day event for adopted individuals downtown, where there is entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.

If you are considering adopting a child, then you don’t have to wait for November to roll around. Our Houston adoption lawyers at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler celebrate families who we are able to help bring together year round. Our legal team can help you through the difficult process of adding a child to your family. While adopting a child can be very confusing and challenging, our experienced lawyers are happy to provide you the support you need to form your family. Contact our offices at today by calling (713) 802-1777 to begin the first steps in giving a child a home.


Mediation in Divorce Cases

Mediation is a process during which both parties undergoing the divorce and their attorneys meet with a mediator who is knowledgeable about law and the art of negotiation to see if they can draw an agreement out of the feuding parties. Everything that is said is confidential at mediation, and the mediator can never be forced to come to court to testify.

One of the roles of a mediator is to get the parties to look at the downsides of their cases and to consider the benefits of settling.  If the case is settled at mediation, the mediated settlement agreement cannot be changed after the fact. An Order will be prepared outlining the terms of the settlement and submitted to the Court, which usually takes about two weeks. Your case is officially over after the Final Order is signed by the Judge. If the case is not settled at mediation, the mediator can write the Court a letter saying “I mediated this case and it did not settle.”

The Houston divorce lawyers of Holmes, Diggs & Sadler are committed to helping couples reach a successful divorce agreement that is as fair to both sides as possible. If you or someone you know is considering mediated divorce, contact us at (713) 802-1777.


Billionaire Cohen won divorce lawsuit

On May 19, a Manhattan judge dismissed the fraudulent divorce lawsuit against billionaire Steven Cohen due to a lack of evidence that he had cheated his estranged spouse Patricia out of millions, a report of CNBC stated.

According to reports, Patricia alleged that Cohen committed fraud in a 1990 divorce case by concealing millions of dollars. Patricia is pursuing to get 50 percent of the supposedly hidden $5.5 million with interest. However, Manhattan federal court Chief Judge Loretta Preska ruled there was insufficient evidence presented in court to support Patricia’s claims. The judge also noted Patricia filed the lawsuit too late as she had previously suspected Steven of concealing his assets in 1991 and in 2006. The legal team representing Patricia stated they disagree with the decision and are considering appealing the case.

The lawyers at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler in Houston understand how complicated divorce cases can be, especially when millions of dollars are involved. If you are in such a situation, we may tirelessly work on your behalf to protect your rights. Learn more about your legal options today by calling (713) 802-1777.


Lima and Jaric divorce finalized

According to the Huffington Post, former NBA player Marko Jaric and Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima are now officially divorced after initially separating in May 2014. They tied the knot back in February 2009, announced their separation after five years, and eventually filed for divorce in New York City.

Pagesix reported that the the settlement was filed on March 14 at the Manhattan Supreme Court. The details were not divulged, but Lima, now 35-years-old, is said to be keeping primary custody of their two daughters, 6-year-old Valentina and 3-year-old Sienna.

Lima’s attorney, Bill Beslow, was asked to make a statement on the matter but did not comment. The couple asks that the public respects their privacy during this time of transition.

Our compassionate lawyers at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler understand the difficulties of going through a divorce. If you are in Houston and are thinking about pursuing a divorce, let our experienced team help you by calling our office at (713) 802-1777.


Katharine McPhee and Nick Cokas officially divorced

According to New York Daily News, 31-year-old actress and singer Katharine McPhee is now officially divorced from her husband of six years, Nicholas Cokas. The two tied the knot in 2008, and they were revealed to be separated in 2014 when McPhee filed for divorce. The court documents stated that the actual date of their separation was March 15, 2013. They have no children together.

McPhee and Cokas are set to divide her earnings from her show “Smash,” and Cokas will receive half of the earnings from McPhee’s contract with Columbia/Epic Records. Cokas will also receive half of the income from songs McPhee created during their marriage. Spousal support has been granted to Cokas, and he is set to receive $400,000 annually.

Divorce is always a difficult ordeal to undergo, and our attorneys at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler want to help ensure that you navigate the process as easily as possible. To discuss your legal options and the specifics of your case, call (713) 802-1777 today.


Jeremy Renner is now divorced

People reported that Jeremy Renner, the 44-year-old Avengers star, is now divorced from 23-year-old Sonni Pacheco. Their separation was finalized on December 28. The two were married for 10 months and have a daughter named Ava, who was born in 2013.

Pacheco filed for divorce in December 2014 and cited irreconcilable differences. Renner is set to make monthly child support payments worth $13,000 and 5 percent of the excess in his annual salary, which is reportedly more than $2.3 million. Pacheco, however, will not be granted spousal support as she signed a prenuptial agreement on December 2013.

According to the reports, Renner and Pacheco were granted shared physical custody of their 2-year-old daughter. The divorce allowed Renner to keep most of his properties.

Before the divorce was finalized, the now ex-spouses had a highly controversial legal battle.

Divorce is especially difficult to deal with when children are involved. If you are in Houston and considering getting a divorce, contact our lawyers at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler to learn how our experienced team can help you through this difficult time. Call our office at (713) 802-1777.


McEntire and Blackstock officially divorced

The New York Daily News reported on December 20 that Reba McEntire, the famed country music singer, and her second husband Narvel Blackstock have divorced. Apparently, McEntire announced her divorce on her Facebook account on December 17. It was revealed that the couple was actually granted the divorce a few months ago, on October 28.

Sixty-year-old McEntire and 59-year-old Blackstock have been married for 26 years. Although they were only recently divorced, their separation was initially announced back in August of this year. They have a 25-year-old son, Shelby Blackstock.

A representative of the couple released a joint statement months ago saying that despite the impending end of the marriage, the now ex-spouses will continue to work together as they have for thirty-five years.

Going through a divorce is always a difficult time for everyone involved. If you are in the process of seeking a divorce in Houston, please consult with our legal team at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler. Contact us today at (713) 802-1777 to learn about the services offered by our compassionate family law attorneys.

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